A conservationist is defined as a person who advocates conservation, especially of natural resources. To go further, nationalgeographic.org says conservation is the act of protecting Earth’s natural resources for current and future generations. And it should be noted the concept is nothing new, conservationists have been around for as long as the resources have been used by humans.

Most lists of America’s top conservationists have Theodore Roosevelt at the top, followed by John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club in 1892. These two men, who both cared deeply about preserving our forests, wilderness, and wildlife, actually went camping together in 1903 to discuss their shared focus. They camped in the wilderness of Yosemite which had been designated as a National Park in 1890, an act in which Muir was instrumental. During his presidential tenure, Roosevelt designed five more National Parks and a whopping 54 national wildlife refuges, while Muir continued to be one of the most influential naturalists in the country.

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Recognize the work of these forward-thinking two men, and a few of the others, who took up the conservation torch, and visit the following.

Brown Pelicans on pilings at sunset
Pelicans at sunset on Pelican Island in Florida

Pelican Island (FL):  In March 1903, President Roosevelt signed an order creating the first national wildlife refuge, Pelican Island in Florida. Apparently, Roosevelt, a bird-lover since his youth, did not appreciate that the brown pelicans in the area were being shot for sport. Upon learning the island where the pelicans nested was federal land, Roosevelt declared it a federal bird preserve. Thus began the National Wildlife Refuge System which today consists of 540 refuges spread across all 50 states. Today Pelican Island can be viewed by visitors from the overlook, known as the Centennial Trail Boardwalk.

Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (FL): If you’re planning a visit to Pelican Island, you should note that just about 10 miles north is the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is a projective habitat and a nesting spot for loggerhead sea turtles as well as green sea turtles. Archie Carr is considered the father of sea turtle research. A great place to camp when visiting these locations is Sunshine Travel RV Resort in Vero Beach.

Sunshine Travel RV Resort
Sunshine Travel RV Resort

Muir Woods National Monument (CA): Located just outside San Francisco, Muir Woods National Monument is a tribute to John Muir. Land donated by Congressman and conservationist William Kent was designated via the Antiquities Act as Muir Woods National Monument by President Roosevelt in 1908. Muir Woods has six miles of hiking trails set among towering old-growth coast redwoods. Many of the trails, which are paved, connect to those in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Consider a stay at San Francisco RV Resort when visiting Muir Woods.

Gateway to Cape Cod

Walden Pond (MA): Henry David Thoreau, best known for his book Walden, or Life in the Woods, published in 1854, was as much an environmental as he was a respected essayist. The book details Thoreau’s two-year plus experience living simply among nature at Walden Pond. Today visitors to Walden Pond, which is now known as Walden Pond State Reservation, can hike the trails around the pond, swim, fish and see a replica of the log cabin in which Thoreau lived during his time in the woods. Walden Pond is located just outside of Concord, Massachusetts, which is about an hour’s drive from either Sturbridge RV Resort or Gateway to Cape Cod RV Campground.

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